tor·ment | \ˈtȯr-ˌment \

Definition of torment 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extreme pain or anguish of body or mind : agony

2 : a source of vexation or pain

3 : the infliction of torture (as by rack or wheel)


tor·ment | \tȯr-ˈment, ˈtȯr-ˌment\
tormented; tormenting; torments

Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause severe usually persistent or recurrent distress of body or mind to cattle tormented by flies

2 : distort, twist

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Synonyms & Antonyms for torment

Synonyms: Noun

agony, Gehenna, hell, horror, misery, murder, nightmare, torture

Synonyms: Verb

afflict, agonize, anguish, bedevil, beset, besiege, curse, excruciate, harrow, persecute, plague, rack, torture

Antonyms: Noun

heaven, paradise

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Choose the Right Synonym for torment


afflict, try, torment, torture, rack mean to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear. afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain or suffering or of acute annoyance, embarrassment, or any distress. ills that afflict the elderly try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control. children often try their parents' patience torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance. a horse tormented by flies torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering. tortured by a sense of guilt rack stresses straining or wrenching. a body racked by pain

Examples of torment in a Sentence


No one could understand his inner torment. After years of torment, she left her husband. The mosquitoes were a constant torment.


Not knowing where she was tormented him. he was tormented by nightmares about the accident
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even on the road against a two-time defending champion with a special knack for torment. Will Graves,, "Capitals drop Penguins in OT to advance to conference finals," 7 May 2018 The Washington Post reports: The picture emerging of Lubitz is one of a man haunted, whose ambition to fly brought him both pleasure and torment. Thomas Houston, Popular Mechanics, "Germanwings Co-pilot Accelerated Plane Before Crash," 24 Mar. 2015 The weight of a nation’s torment was off his back, at least for a few sweet moments, and the World Cup had a snapshot for the ages: Lionel Messi climbing on someone else’s back. Bruce Jenkins,, "Lionel Messi lives, and Argentina moves on," 26 June 2018 The investigator also interviewed other members of the girl's family, who described acts of torment toward the girl. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Missouri couple accused of tormenting 8-year-old face 52 counts of abuse, neglect," 31 May 2018 Ethan Hawke continues an unexpected mid-career renaissance with this portrait of a small-town pastor, keeper of a historic church and a shrinking flock, whose inner torments are slowly bringing him to his knees. Ty Burr,, "What to watch at the IFFBoston," 19 Apr. 2018 Sacred Deer, which had its share of good reviews (not including mine), failed to find an audience ($2 million at the box office) though its glacial pacing may have been more to blame than its sadistic torments. Gary Thompson,, "Think these movies are too gory? The Greek myths they're based on are worse," 12 July 2018 That meant with one win against Costa Rica, Brazil had a chance to outshine both its South American rival and the author of its torment for the past four years. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Brazil Lives Up to Its Reputation, Tops Costa Rica at World Cup," 22 June 2018 The series chronicled the aftermath of the suicide of teenager Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who left behind a series of cassette tapes chronicling her inner torment. Yvonne Villarreal,, "'13 Reasons Why' returns with troubling questions and troubling answers," 29 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the playoffs two years ago, Tavares tormented the Panthers by scoring by scoring five goals and assisting on four others in just six games. Matthew Defranks,, "Dale Tallon on Toronto signing John Tavares: 'But we're going to be a top contender as well'," 1 July 2018 His daughter, tormented by her mother's death and intent on making her father suffer, had entered the park with the goal of thwarting the Man in Black's attempt to die. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 10: What Is Real?," 25 June 2018 Fleury has a 30-18-2 all-time record against the Capitals, but has been tormented by Ovechkin along the way, who has 32 goals against the netminder, including 10 in the postseason. Kristen Nelson,, "Stanley Cup Final Series Breakdown: Washington Capitals vs. Vegas Golden Knights," 27 May 2018 Years after their abuse, victims remain tormented by their experience at the hands of their American interrogators, jailers and guards, according to activists and psychologists working with former Guantanamo detainees. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, "Long after his release, an ex-detainee struggles with Guantanamo’s torturous clutches," 25 Apr. 2018 The comment by Justice Minister, Sylvi Listhaug, touched a raw nerve in a country still tormented by memories of the July, 2011 attack by far-right terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik. Fox News, "Norwegian minister resigns after Facebook post uproar," 20 Mar. 2018 The Fort Lauderdale runner thrown out just happened to be her cousin Colin Calvet, who tormented Deerfield throughout the tournament with his speed in the outfield and on the bases. Emmett Hall,, "Deerfield Beach Little League Junior Division All-Stars ready for trip to Florida's capital," 12 July 2018 Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, who tormented the Blazers throughout the four-game beat down, had their most impressive outings yet, combining to score a whopping 88 points and shoot 63 percent from the field. Joe Freeman,, "New Orleans Pelicans sweep Portland Trail Blazers with 131-123 Game 4 win: Rapid Reaction," 21 Apr. 2018 Noreen Mulzac’s biological daughter had harsh words for the person who’d tormented her mother before killing her. Crystal Hill, miamiherald, "‘Thank God we are finally rid of you,’ family says to son who killed adoptive mother | Miami Herald," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'torment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of torment


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for torment


Middle English, from Anglo-French turment, torment, from Latin tormentum torture; akin to torquēre to twist — more at torture entry 1

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Statistics for torment

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for torment

The first known use of torment was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for torment



English Language Learners Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: extreme physical or mental pain

: something that causes extreme physical or mental pain



English Language Learners Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone or something) to feel extreme physical or mental pain


tor·ment | \tȯr-ˈment \
tormented; tormenting

Kids Definition of torment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cause severe suffering of body or mind to Flies tormented the cattle.

2 : vex sense 1, harass All last year we tormented Webb. Mostly little stuff, like messing with his locker …— Jerry Spinelli, Crash


tor·ment | \ˈtȯr-ˌment \

Kids Definition of torment (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : extreme pain or distress of body or mind

2 : a cause of suffering in mind or body The waiting was torment.

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Comments on torment

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